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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4, 2007
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Yard not 'computer dumpsite', Morgan man says

By Ronnie Thomas
rthomas@decaturdaily.com 340-2438

A Morgan City resident takes exception to his yard being labeled a "computer dumpsite." He also is wondering why Morgan County officials singled him out.

William "Bill" Newcomb of 166 Old Silo Road said he does not have "700 to 800" computers piled in his yard. That was an estimate Ricky Brooks, director of Morgan County Environmental Services, gave The Daily for Tuesday's article.

"It sure seemed like that many to me," Brooks said. "I guess I'll have to go back out there and take another look."

Newcomb said Tuesday that he has 200 or fewer scrap computers.

"All I have is a pile of scrap in my yard about 10 feet long and 6 feet wide," he said.

District 4 Commissioner Stacy George reiterated that the county approached Newcomb because of a complaint from a neighbor.

"We just work the complaints as they're called in," George said. "The man told me he has had his house on the market for some time and that people have to drive by Newcomb's place to get to his house. He believes the reason he has no prospects could be because of the way Newcomb's yard looks. This is the first time I've ever had a call on computers."

Not a neighbor?

Newcomb said the man was "not a neighbor, that he lived about three miles away."

He said that rather than singling him out, the county should look at his immediate neighbors.

"I've got a homemade chicken house behind me, and that's not good for my four kids to smell all the day," he said. "I've got a trailer park behind me that needs to be cleaned up. I've got a next door neighbor that don't keep their yard cut. I can't see to back out of my driveway."

Newcomb said he and his wife keep their grass cut and plant flowers, and "I don't have junk cars or anything like that. There are junk cars in a yard next door and down the street. If they want to clean up the neighborhood, they don't need to just get on me."

Newcomb said he recycles computers and does not pollute the air.

"I've been living here off and on since 1998, and I've never had this problem," he said. "All I do is get the gold, copper wiring and aluminum. That's what I do to try to feed my family. I take my leftover scrap to an electronic landfill at the Decatur-Morgan County Landfill. I just don't call a Dumpster in when I've just got a pickup load."

Seeks dumpster

He's got more than that now, and that's apparently the reason he wants to rent a 40-yard, roll-off Dumpster, the largest that Waste Corporation of America in Mooresville has and one of the most popular on construction sites. Newcomb said he signed a contract with WCA but that it would be "six months to a year" before one is available because of so much construction in the area.

A company spokesman said Tuesday there is no contract.

"(Newcomb) approached us simply for a quotation," he said. "We have not entered into any type of contract with him. He determined the 40-yard container would hold all the computers. That size box was not available and we couldn't give him a guaranteed time that it would be.

"We priced it out. We told him whenever we got one available we'd be back in touch. We also told him there were other size containers that we could get over to him in a timelier manner. We told him we could have a 30-yard container, the next size down, to him within a couple of days. He said he wanted the 40-yard container so he could remove everything at one time."

The spokesman said Newcomb indicated that "he might need the container six months to a year."

Brooks repeated that the wait for a container to remove the computers shouldn't be more than a week.

"If it's going to be six months to a year, we can furnish him an 8-yard Dumpster," Brooks said. "We'll haul it for a fee."

Meanwhile, George said that Newcomb should call if he has complaints.

"Ricky will take a look and determine if anyone is violating laws that the county has on the books," George said. "If so, he will contact the proper authorities, whether it is the Morgan County Health Department or the Alabama Department of Environmental Conservation. Newcomb was picked out because he has computers lying in the yard."

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